MORE MONEY: MP for Central Auckland Nikki Kaye and Richmond Road School principal Stephanie Anich discuss how funding changes could benefit the school.
A change in government funding is set to help ease mounting tensions caused by packed inner-city classrooms.
Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced that schools who have out-of-zone children attending selected special programmes may now be entitled to roll growth funding.
Generally schools do not attract property roll growth funding for out-of-zone children.
The announcement is a huge relief for schools such as Richmond Road School, which offers popular French, Samoan and Maori language programmes.
The school is bursting at the seams as it attracts students from wider Auckland who cannot find similar programmes in their own neighbourhoods.
On top of this, it has been dealing with intense population growth affecting the region, principal Stephanie Anich says.
“Across the school probably 45 per cent would be out-of-zone children.
“So there was no wriggle room at all really,” Ms Anich says.
“We had just come to the crunch of no new building spaces, no money to build, no policy that would trap that building money.”
She says the squeeze created understandable tension between in-zone and out-of-zone families.
However the policy change means eligible schools will now be able to attract funding to build new classrooms, Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye says.
Ms Kaye says she fought for the policy changes as they are likely to benefit several schools in her electorate – Richmond Road School, Freemans Bay School, Newton Central School, Westmere School and Western Springs College.
But Ms Kaye stresses that she stepped out of the decision-making as associate minister of education to avoid any conflict of interest.
“Probably what made me passionate about this is that these guys are providing some of the best bilingual programmes in the country and I just felt we had to change the system, because it was a disincentive for these amazing programmes to continue.”
Chairman for the Inner City Principals Group Bill Barker says they are grateful for the support offered by the minister to implement these long-awaited changes.
“It is fantastic news,” Mr Barker says.
“This means boards no longer have to subsidise special programmes for property out of their operational funding.”
In her announcement Ms Parata noted that Auckland and Christchurch have been mostly affected by high demand for special programmes and will be the first to benefit from the new funding rules.
“Demand for special programmes will continue to grow over time, particularly in the ethnically diverse areas of Auckland,” she says.
Students eligible for entry into the special programme who live in the home zone will still be given priority.
– © Fairfax NZ News
Some students look forward to leaving school.
But Theresa Hansell loved it so much she sent her own children there and spent the last 35 years on the staff.
The Ponsonby resident retired last term from Richmond Road School after spending almost every day there since 1976.
Mrs Hansell, 77, felt she had “done her dash” in May and left the school that she first attended as a five-year-old.
She says the school has given her lifelong friends and memories she will have forever.
“We had many dear teachers who were so caring. I really did love my school days, they were the happiest I had,” she says.
Mrs Hansell left in year 8 and attended Auckland Girls Grammar with the hope of pursuing teaching, but the arrival of her first child put her plans on hold.
All five of her children attended the school and when she enrolled her youngest son the principal offered her a job.
ERA ENDS: Theresa Hansell attended Richmond Road School in 1938, sent her five children there and spent the last 35 years there as a staff member. JASON OXENHAM
“In 1976 the school opened an inner-city language unit and I was asked to teach there, helping children from the Pacific Islands and Asia learn the New Zealand way of life.”
When the unit closed Mrs Hansell worked at the school as a teacher aide and then in the office doing administration work.
She recalls how close-knit the staff were – throwing parties and attending shows and even venturing overseas together.
“We did a lot together in those days and everyone looked after one another. We went to Hawaii, Rarotonga and Samoa. It was great.
“We would say, `Next pay we will need to book fares for somewhere else’ and off we would go again.”
Mrs Hansell still keeps in touch with former staff members and even with friends from her own schooldays.
“There is a group of about five or six of us who still meet up for lunches.”
Mrs Hansell’s love for teaching and helping others has seen three of her children become teachers – one a principal – and has given her a life filled with adventure and happy memories.
” I just really have had a good life. I have five children who have been here for my husband and me, and we have just done everything together,” she says.
CLASS OF 44: Richmond Road School’s standard 4 class pictured in 1944, when Mrs Hansell was 10.
Auckland City Harbour News – 27/07/11.
Aigaletaule’ale’ā F. Tauafiafi In Auckland
Over 50 pre-schoolers in central Auckland have pledged allegiance to the Manu Samoa. That’s the the truth according to A’oga Fa’aSamoa’s Principal, Jane Taouma.
“I think we’re supposed to support the England team,” says Taouma. “But we are A’oga Fa’a Samoa so we support Manu Samoa,” she says proudly.
The early childhood unit is the feeder school for Richmond Road Primary school, famous as the school attended by Hollywood star, Samoan, Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnston. According to Jane the children had a field day making the flags.
“They drew and laminated the flags all by themselves then had a lot of fun making the string and hanging them along there [fence].”
With the world cup only a week away there’s excitement in the air. And Manu Samoa touched down yesterday.
“They’re all getting really excited about the rugby games about to happen,” says Jane.
“Their parents of course are enthusiasts so that gets passed down to the children.”
But just to make sure the stringed Samoa flags lining the fence were genuine, all 50 pre-schoolers were eager to perform their version of the Siva Tau.
Out they marched with serious intent.
A’oga Fa’a Samoa pre-schoolers and their Samoa-flag decorated fence.
And that included the teachers, caregivers, plus the gardener and cook. With purpose the little warriors and warrioresses stood oozing menace portraying defiant bastion as the last line of defence to their laminated Samoan flags display in the background.
In unison, their little feet stomped. With their best effort at facial intimidation, their Siva Tau rendition to the Manu Samoa melody echoed around ‘The Rock’s’ former school.
A’oga FaaSamoa e faataua gagana Samoa, hi! Readers can view the video clip on www.youtube/users/samoaobserver
As proud as Samoans were of the Manu’s victory over the Wallabies last month, Jane Taouma and her staff could not have been prouder of their charges on Wednesday.
“Go the Manu Samoa” cried the pre-schoolers after their fierce A’oga FaaSamoa war-cry.
Jane Taouma is married to Papalii Peter Taouma and one Kiwi proud of her Samoan connections.
“I taught in Samoa for ten years,” she says proudly. “Five of my children grew up there [she has seven] and I still have one daughter over there teaching and I’m going over next week, or week after to visit her.”
And guess who Jane will cheer for at the world cup.
“When Samoa plays I’ll be cheering for Samoa,” she made a fist.
When asked about her thoughts as the Webb Ellis trophy boards the plane for Apia after 23 October.
“Well, you’ll be celebrating for a long time. I mean who knows, anything’s possible. That’s the thing with this tournament, anyone can win on the day.”
As for the impromptu stranger turning up in their midst on Wednesday.
“We’re really glad you saw our flags and popped in,” smiled Jane.
A’oga Fa’a Samoa is an immersion Samoan early childhood centre. It takes in pre-schoolers with Samoan heritage and with its established link with Mua i Malae, the Samoan Bilingual Unit in Richmond Road Primary School, it becomes the feeder centre for the ‘Rocks’ school of two-years during his childhood days.
Victor (R4) receiving our ‘Silver’ TravelWise Award from His Worship the Mayor, at The Civic, because we have increased the percentage of children who come to school in a sustainable way.
The plug looks set to be pulled on funding Pacific language literacy in December – but not without opposition.
Central Auckland Samoan bilingual units are frustrated and disappointed by the Education Ministry’s decision to put the publication of its Tupu and Folauga series on hold as it looks for ways to lift English literacy among Pasifika students.
Head teacher Suzie-Jo Rasmussen from Richmond Road Primary School’s Samoan bilingual unit Mua I Malae says the decision is discriminating.
Her closet-sized resource room provides plenty of space to store vital reading material.
Material is provided by the ministry and also by the parent support network Matua Atinae which helps the unit’s 75 pupils by cutting and pasting Samoan translations over English books.
“Tupu means to grow. But it’s not going to grow, it’s going to be killed.
“The ministry’s attitude shows they don’t value our kids’ culture and they prefer to teach English while children lose their mother tongue.”
Kowhai Intermediate parent Joanne Okesene’s concerns prompted her to lay a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.
“All Pacific Islanders need to be aware that this is happening. Our eldest grandchild is about to start school in the bilingual programme at Richmond and his language and cultural rights will be seriously eroded by this decision.
“There are plenty of studies that show children successful in their heritage language can translate that knowledge to English and so can be successful with both.
“They don’t have to be successful in English at the expense of the other language,” she says.
Auckland University’s faculty of education senior lecturer John McCaffery agrees.
He is one of a team that has been conducting research into the benefits of bilingual education for the ministry.
“Bilingualism and literacy in Pacific languages is identified in the ministry’s own website as a major contributor to academic success of Pasifika students in New Zealand schools. The apparent unawareness of ministry officials of their own research and policy astounds us and makes New Zealand look like something out of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers. This appears to be little more than institutional racism and a Pacific Human Rights violation of major proportions.”
Ministry acting group manager for curriculum teaching and learning Howard Baldwin says te reo Maori and English are the only fully funded languages under current policy.
There are no plans to change the level of funding provided to the 33 New Zealand schools that have Pacific bilingual units but he says Pasifika students’ English literacy levels need lifting.
“The ministry is reviewing the Tupu and Folauga series while it investigates how curriculum support materials can best accelerate the achievement of Pasifika students in English literacy,” he says.
Mr Baldwin says the ministry will continue to provide guidelines, resources and professional development for teachers to support Pasifika languages as further support is designed under the Pasifika Education Plan.
– Auckland City Harbour News
- Samoan is the third most spoken language in New Zealand, but it’s not an official language.Click here to watch a video
After six years of school travel plans in Auckland city, the council and Auckland Regional Transport Authority launched the travel plan for Richmond Road School last week.
Mayor of Auckland city, Hon. John Banks and the council’s road safety spokesperson, Councillor John Lister, joined children, guests and other dignitaries at Richmond Road School, the 70th school in the city to benefit from travel planning.
The number of Auckland children hit by cars and then hospitalised has drastically reduced. In both 2007 and 2008, eight children were hospitalised after being hit by vehicles, compared to a yearly average of 24 from 2000 to 2003.
Between 2005 and 2008, injuries from pedestrian and cycling incidents for five-to-13-year-olds fell by 48 per cent at 10 schools evaluated in Auckland city.
“School travel plans offer a toolkit of potential improvements, including 40km/h speed zones, walking school buses and infrastructure upgrades, which are custom fitted for each school’s situation,” says Mr Lister.